Sony’s TV stick offers full Google TV functionality, but only with this year’s Sony TVs

stick-580x264

The Sony TV device spotted in an FCC filing last month was briefly unveiled by Sony in a blog post that has since been deleted. Engadget spotted the post for the Sony Bravia Smart Stick before it was pulled.

It’s an MHL dongle that runs both Google TV and Sony’s own BRAVIA apps. The features are just like Google TV boxes Sony has released before, with a remote (that the FCC filings showed is at least similar to the previous ones) that has QWERTY and voice search support. Additionally, its “picture-and-picture” feature lets users see a browser in one window and TV in another …  Read more

Google ready to raise its TV profile by spending $1B+ on NFL streaming deal?

hdr__NFL_SUNDAY_TICKET_2013_video

AllThingsD reports that Google may be in discussions with NFL to buy the rights to the Sunday Ticket package when DirectTV’s contract runs out at the end of the 2014 season.

Today, according to sources, Google CEO Larry Page, along with YouTube content boss Robert Kyncl, met with a delegation from the NFL led by commissioner Roger Goodell. And the Sunday Ticket package was among the topics of discussion, according to people familiar with the meeting …  Read more

Hulu is just the latest doing Chromecast

Variety has the scoop:

“We are actively working with Google to bring Hulu Plus to the platform,” Hulu rep Meredith Kendall said. “At Hulu, we’re constantly innovating to provide our users with access to their favorite TV shows anytime, anywhere, on any device.”

What a stark contrast to when GoogleTV was released and Hulu blocked, yes BLOCKED, Google TVs from accessing Hulu content.  Yes, a few years makes a big difference and Hulu has since gotten comfortable on set top boxes, but I think the model where Google puts content owners in control has struck a chord with content distributors. They are 100% in control of what goes on Chromecast.

“Here’s how you put your content on a Chromecast. They are $35 and going to be everywhere. Do what you want” works.

Vimeo, HBO, Redbox, and many others are also jumping on board. Read more

Google announces $35 Chromecast, a small HDMI stick that shifts video from mobile to TV

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 6.50.10 PM

Google just seemingly ‘cast’ its Google TV project to the curb.  As a much simpler version of GoogleTV, the leaked Chromecast allows you to do what you can now do on Google TV: pushing content from both Netflix and Youtube to your TV.  Unlike Airplay, the Chromecast stick allows the original device to turn off or go to sleep. It functions as a standalone streaming device, awaiting orders from an iOS device, Android device, or Chrome browser on a PC, Mac or Chromebook Pixel (strangely, other Chromebooks need not apply). 

Google has also baked in iOS support, which will allow users of both platforms to control Netflix or Youtube. You can also broadcast a tab in the Chrome Browser.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 7.04.33 PM

Google Play music and movies can also ‘cast’ to the best speakers in your house as long as those are connected to your TV. Pandora is coming soon.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 7.08.58 PM

It will be available from Google Play, Amazon and Best Buy as well as other retailers. We’ll have a review up as soon as possible.  Read more

Google TV gets updated to latest 4.2.2 Jellybean, will see quicker updates and allow secure content

Lost in the shuffle of today’s events is that Google TV is getting significant updates today.

Today, Google TV is moving to the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean, 4.2.2), and we’ve refactored Google TV so that our TV OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in a matter of weeks rather than months. For developers, this means you can build TV experiences using the latest Android APIs, including the NDK.

Today Google TV is also moving to the latest version of Chrome, and from now on Google TV benefits from Chrome updates on the same six week cycle that you’ve come to expect from Chrome. In Chrome on Google TV, we’ve added support for hardware-based content protection, enabling developers to provide premium TV content in HD within their web apps.

Google TV has always been a(t least a) generation behind Android phones and you have to wonder if Andy Rubin’s move away from Android is allowing the YouTube group that runs GoogleTV more access to core Android features. Word on the Street is that Rubin and YouTube boss “couldn’t be in the same room together”.

Speaking of YouTube, the GoogleTV Youtube App got a facelift today with the following additions:

- New home screen interface.
– Enhanced video playback controls.
– Support for paid subscriptions.

Update: LG is on board. Press release and 4.2.2 demo below Read more

Google finally getting its own Open Airplay alternative

.

As the television race heats up, Google said it is working on an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay—a technology first introduced in iOS 4.2 that allowed users to share photo, audio, and video to the Apple TV.

Google had a similar streaming product to the Apple TV this summer—the Nexus Q— that allowed for sharing of content via an Android device to the TV. However, the product flopped and didn’t see the light of day for many customers. Additionally, in Google’s move to try to compliment streaming to the TV, the folks at YouTube launched an AirPlay-like feature last week that allows users to beam YouTube videos from their Android device straight to the television.

Speaking to GigaOm, Google Product Manager Timbo Drayson made it clear that Google has big plans in the space and wants to move forward. “We really want to move the whole industry forward,” Drayson told the publication.

How will Google move the industry forward? It may just partner with as many partners as possible. It worked with Android, so why wouldn’t it work here? Drayson said Google is “actively working with other companies” to implement a new AirPlay-like standard. Remember, Google also has its Google TV platform that this could play nicely off.

Furthermore, GigaOm examined how Google plans to move past just beaming video:

And it’s not just about remote control functionality and beaming a video from your mobile phone to the TV we are talking about. The new protocol makes it possible for data to flow in both directions, Drayson explained, which would enable developers to build second-screen experiences that correspond to what’s happening on live TV as well. Also on the roadmap: beaming content from your laptop to your TV screen.

Related articles

iFixit tears down the $99 Google TV-powered Vizio Co-Star

We knew from an announcement in January that the ARM-based Armada 1500 chipset from Marvell would be at the core of new Google TV products in 2012. Today, we see the chips inside of one of the latest Google TV streaming products that went on sale last month, the Vizio Co-Star. The guys and gals over at iFixit decided to make the Co-Star its latest teardown victim, revealing the $99 set top box is powered by Marvell’s Armada 1500 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor, 1GB of RAM, and various other Marvell components:

* Here’s the specs on the Co-Star:
        * Marvell Armada 1500 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor
        * Marvell 88DE2755 QDEO Video Processor
        * Nanya NT5CB256M8GN-DI 1 GB RAM
        * Samsung K9GBG08U0A-SCBO 4 GB NAND Flash
        * Marvell Avastar 88W8787 WLAN/Bluetooth/FM SoC 

iFixit provided some highlights after giving the Co-Star a respectable 8 out of 10 repairability score: Read more

Google TV to stream movies, TV shows, and music from Google Play this summer

Google gave an update regarding improvements to the Google Play store coming to Android devices and elsewhere yesterday during Day 1 of its Google I/O keynote. However, information on what was in the works for Google TV was notably left out from its presentations (despite two identical Google Glass skydiver demos from yesterday and today). Today, Google made a blog post confirming features that were announced for Android devices yesterday. A new UI, subscription billing, and movie, music and TV shows will also come to the Google Play store on Google TV this summer:

You already have access to a variety of apps on Google Play, and soon you’ll be able to find movies, TV shows, and music from Google Play to stream on Google TV. Google Play works across devices, so you can rent and start watching a movie on your Google TV, keep watching on your tablet on the move, and finish watching on Google TV. The TV & Movies app will also show Google Play content, adding to the more than 100,000 TV episodes and movies available in the app. The full power of Google Play will be available later this summer on all Google TV devices.

Read more

Vizio officially announces $99 Google TV ‘Co-Star’ for July

While we already got a look at its Google TV plans during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Vizio made things official today for its “Co-Star” Google TV streaming box by giving it a $99 price tag and pre-order date set for July. The Co-Star goes a little bit beyond the typical Google TV experience, providing a skinned UI with HTML5 Chrome browser, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and iHeartRadio apps built-in. It also has OnLive for the first time ever on a Google TV set-top box. The box will come with a double-sided Bluetooth remote with a full QWERTY keyboard on one side and a number and touchpad on the other. We do not have specifics on a release date, but Vizio plans to start taking preorders next month.

“Our focus to deliver the best consumer experience continues with today’s announcement of the Co-Star, which delivers a superior smart TV interface that anyone can add to their existing HDTV,” said Matt McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer. “We combined the powerful features of Google TV™ with an intuitive and easy to use interface, giving users the power to enjoy an entire world of entertainment.”

Reports claimed yesterday that Google is getting ready to unveil some new updates to the Google TV platform tomorrow at its Google I/O keynote, including: combined content browsing for Netflix, DVR, and TV content, and AirPlay-like features for sharing content between devices.
Read more

iHeartRadio app launches on Google TV

Google TV just launched iHeartRadio on its Smart TV platform in an effort to bring live radio to the big screen.

iHeartRadio is a four-year-old website and mobile radio network that aggregates local radio brands, personalities, and on-demand content. The new Google TV app offers 800 live stations and the ability to create a custom station based on an artist or track. It also sports high-resolution imagery, quick jump options, and seamless navigation for finding local broadcasts by genre or location. Moreover, the app “dims the lights,” so users can listen to music without a blaring screen in the room.

A screenshot of the app is above, while a reel of the service is below. 
Read more